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tv   Reel America The High Wall - 1952  CSPAN  December 8, 2018 8:01am-8:33am EST

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a school psychologist who narrates the film argues that if children are raised in loving homes, they will be immunized against racial hatred. this half hour film from the library of congress is featured on the national film preservation foundation's website.
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[police siren]
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>> good morning, doctor. >> good morning. >> two kids, over on the south side. police took a full report. >> they called me about it. >> we seen a lot of these cases lately. doctor: another gang fight. two kids hurt, peter, 18, stab wound lower, abdomen, fractured right radius, condition atisfactory. homas gregory, 18, fractured
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ribs lower left, perforated lung left, no infection, condition atisfactory. that is, the laboratory found no infection, nothing that showed up under a microscope or in a test tube, nothing you could fight with a drug or serum. ondition satisfactory? i doubted it. the two boys, do you mind if i talk with them? urse: if they will talk. doctor: how are you feeling? my name is nordhoff. do you know what a psychiatrist is? >> yes. i have seen movies. >> so have i. tell me. why did you and your friends attack the crowd? >> are you kidding?
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they started it and we're going to finish it. we are going to settle it with those punks. doctor: the police report says you went to peter's house and started the fight. >> we didn't and start the fight. they did. doctor: everyone makes mistakes. i made the common mistake of judging by appearances. even a psychiatrist makes snap judgments sometimes. often it is a final judgment, passing sentence for a crime hat was never committed. what have you got against peter inowitz? >> he is like all the rest of them. >> the rest? >> polacks, who do they think they are? dirty stinking polocks. doctor: the old, familiar hate words.
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here it is dirty stinking polocks, in other places it is chinks, kikes, dagos, niggers. how does hate like this pile up? where does it start? what do you do about it? that's what the police wanted to now. first of all, i had to get the full story. i called in a caseworker, jeff holland. jeff was experienced in this sort of thing. how does the hate pile up, where does it start? jeff would find the answers. he went down to the south side, o the polish section, an
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american section actually, in which many residents are of polish ancestry. their parents and grandparents came from a poor country, wanting a better life, willing o work for it. ome of done pretty well. for others, it has been a struggle. different customs, different backgrounds, but the same human needs and wants, above all the desire to belong, not to be an outsider, which is sometimes a struggle in itself. it is hard to understand why you have to get kicked around for having a different-sounding name, for speaking with a different accent. >> do want to know how it happens? i ask you how it happens? why those hoodlums make trouble for us? the police, what do they do? >> he comes not from the police. he comes only to ask why? jeff: i have to ask your help.
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these things don't just happen. there is always a reason for it. you know the gregory's? >> i know them all right. [speaking foreign language] >> what poppa means is that we don't really know them, we know only about them. they bother our neighbors. it is hard to explain. there are some people that went. doctor: jeff learned little from the family that day. he hoped to learn more from the gregorys, a modest house on a modest street like countless other houses on countless other streets. a neighborhood of people who go to church, read the newspapers, listen to the radio, had friends in now and then, people who live a quiet, orderly life. >> they're taking good care of him? there's nothing he needs?
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>> he will be all right, won't he? he will get well, all right? jeff: he will be all right, don't worry. but i must know more about what happened. >> i just don't know. we can't figure it out. >> it is terrible. i hate to think what the neighbors must be saying. jeff: was there bad feeling between the two boys? >> not as far as i know. 7 of course tommy is quiet. he doesn't say much. >> that's because i always made him toe the line. that's the way i was brought up and that's the way we raise to tom. you know what they are like. >> what do you mean, what they are like? >>they are polocks. >> oh? >> now i'm not trying to excuse tom, but you know what troublemakers they can be.
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>> mother, you don't even know them. you never let yourself know them. >> yes i do, peter is a friend of mine. know lots of polish kids. >> they're not our kind, they are different sort of people entirely. >> my hair is longer than yours. should i cut it off? >> that will be enough out of you, young lady. >> what are they, wild animals? >> you heard your father. doctor: laura has her own ideas, she has confidence in herself and what she believes. she doesn't need to step all over people in order to build herself up. harold gregory does, as jeff found out. like everyone else, he wants to get ahead, have people look up to him. he always wanted praise, even as a child. instead he got discipline and punishment, and in his job he is
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standing still. others always seem to get the prizes he wants. 15 years at the same desk, a bookkeeper for a steel company. quiet, unobtrusive, fairly comp at the present time. a few small raises, but no promotions. why? favoritism? dirty politics? why else are the polocks moving in and moving up? gregory has his own answer. it is because they are so aggressive and because they are so tricky, so unscrupulous. some of them down at the mill make as much as he does. how come? a fine way to treat an american. if at first you don't succeed, blame somebody else. the polocks, the hunkies, they are stupid and dirty, but they are smart and tricky. they are
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lazy, they are ambitious, they are anything he wants them to be, a handy target for his own feelings of inadequacy. he could work harder, but it is easier to find a scapegoat. he could accept his limitations and try to live with them, but it is easier to shift the blame. mrs. gregory considers herself a conscientious mother. >> i have tried to bring my family up properly and see that they have a good home, behave nicely and associate with nice children, but i don't know why tom has been such a problem. doctor: good, right, nice. proper. but jeff was to find out they added up to something else, fear of not being good enough, fear that she would always stay in the same rut, that she would never climb the social ladder.
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many have the same fear. joined together, they have strength of a kind. there is always someone more vulnerable. >> therefore i move we reject heir applications. have no personal feeling, but it is a question of background. they just don't see things the way we do. we don't want to lower our standards. doctor: she doesn't see why tom has been such a problem. it's a gradual process. no child is born prejudiced. children have to be taught how to hate. whom to hate. she raised tom carefully. she knew about smallpox and other infectious diseases. she had him immunized. she didn't know that she herself could infect him. thinking all the while that she was doing the right thing. >> hello, mildred. how are you?
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i didn't know you traded here. >> they have wonderful bargains. >> that's the way they take things away from our own people. >> still, if their prices are lower. >> i don't need to tell you if your business, if you want to shop here. it is up to you. but i don't think it is right. poles are so untrust worthy. we have to think about our own people. doctor: tom didn't see anything wrong with the polish section. he didn't notice that they were different. > what are you doing here? what are you doing over here? i told you that you weren't to play with those children. i told you that you were to stay in your own backyard. tom, you are a very bad boy. doctor: do as you are told, understand? stay away from those polocks. they are no good. no good.
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why are they no good? never mind the way. do as you're told. the little man at the office becomes a big man at home, the voice of authority, authority wielded 1000 times, darkening the years that should be filled sunshine. home becomes a place of rules and regulations, too much discipline and not enough ove. ♪ >> is that my knife? go out and play.
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time, but the es pattern develops. no chance to work off his aggressions normally, he finds other ways, ways to get even with parents who hold too tight a rein on him. a problem child at the age of 11. sulky, furtive, hemmed in, unsure of himself. running off sometimes to play with the poles. wanting to feel superior to somebody, kids like pete zenwitz, stan lubov, funny
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names, but they can shoot a bb gun all right. well, who can't? >> let me try. doctor: i'm better than the dumb polocks any day of the week. >> i could have a bb gun if i wanted one. >> then why haven't you gotten one yet? >> i would rather have a 22. >> what did he say? > he said shut up.
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>> would you like some pierogi? >> oh boy, thank you. this is good. >> mmmm. >> don't you like it? foreign language spoken] doctor: strange food, strange ways, strange people, different, foreign. he senses hidden things, mysteries, a different kind of church, where they speak a strange language, latin, strange, different, therefore ad, dangerous.
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>> why don't you go home where ou belong? >> i can't find my best kitchen knife. have either of you children seen it? >> not me. you know what pete zinowitz has got? a brand-new bb gun, a repeater. father: what were you doing over there? >> walking by. leo has a bike. how come i can't have one? >> daddy can't afford it, dummy. father: i will decide what we can afford. >> where do polocks get all their money? >> it is not nice to call them polocks. father: maybe i will get you a new bike next year. >> next year? gee. >> that's enough. at your dinner and keep quiet.
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doctor: tom was learning to hate, and not just at home. others contributed their fair share. there was ms. burnett, never interested in teaching, frustrated, unloved, resenting her drab life and taking it out on the kids. teacher: peter zenowitz, stand up. what do you mean disrupting the class? no back talk young man. if you hope to amount to anything, you'll drop those shiftless polish habits and attend to business. do you understand that?
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do you understand me, peter? >> yes. >> yes what? >> yes, ma'am. ♪ >> what's dumber than a half wit? zenowitz. doctor: insiders against outsiders, the outsiders were beaten, but once isn't enough, you have to go on proving yourself. out of fear and frustration, the hate grows. out of insecurity, the need to be powerful, the master, the conqueror.
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father: you kids cut out this fooling around. go downstairs and help your mother with breakfast. >> yes, father dear. >> you are too old for this kids stuff tom, now i don't want any ore of it. mother: good morning. ood morning, dear. >> why is dad such a sour puss. can we have any fun? >> i won't have you talking about him like that. mother: there is a right and wrong way to do everything. >> i disagree. >> laura. >> besides, i like my way best. >> i won't speak to you again young lady. >> is that a promise? doctor: laura gets away with it. she is rebellious, but her
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rebellion doesn't really count. in the gregory world, it is the man's opinion that matters. but laura is not having it. she has set the course, her own course, and she intends to follow it. she studies hard, does her own thinking. there is room in her mind for as many opinions as there are different kinds of people. no one is going to tell her how to choose her own friends. >> i will call you tonight. >> hey, laura. >> oh, hi. >> going my way? >> it depends, are you going my way? then i'm going your way. >> do you think you can come? >> i'm terribly busy these days. >> do you have a date? >> you're very fortunate. i just happen to be free this
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evening. doctor: if she likes a boy, she likes him. whether his name is john jones or peter zenowitz. but to those whose minds are surrounded by high walls, differences are wrong, dangerous. they hate whatever is different, and the hatred welds them together. they tell themselves it is masculine to hate. laura is getting up in the world. getting along just fine with those polocks. >> what is the secret to her success? >> she is a dope. >> i wonder if they get anywhere with her? >> how about it, tom. give us the lowdown? [laughter] tom: shut your mouth or i will shut it for you. >> once more, i am going to ask you. how long have you been playing around with zenowitz. >> i'm not playing around with him.
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how many times do i have to -- peter is having a party tonight. he asked me to come, that is all. drarling, there are lots of nice boys. >> what's wrong with peter? >> he is a polock. >> that settles everything as far as you're concerned. >> i don't want any sister of mine running around with the -- >> he is everything you are. father: i want you to call him and tell him you are not going. that is final. final. >> i told her off all right. so did the old man. she won't be playing around with that polock anymore. >> i got news. they are having a party over at pete's. >> big deal. >> how come you didn't get invited?
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>> yeah, how come? >> i feel like having some fun tonight. what do you say we crash the party? >> do you think they might get sore? >> what's the matter, chicken? >> who is chicken? i will crash any party i want. >> let's go, boys. got everything? let's go, come on. car engines roaring]
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[knocking on door] screaming] doctor: the gang fight on the south side. the sort of eruption that might happen almost anywhere where the pressure of hate becomes strong enough. we knew now where it began, in the home, with the parents, and probably with their parents before them. we knew the source and how it
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developed, but there remained another, bigger question to be answered, how to cure it. not just here but everywhere, for prejudice is a disease, a communicable disease. it shows up in many places, akes many forms, yet few of us recognize the symptoms in ourselves. often, it requires testing one's self, like testing the eyes. izz my vision distorted? do certain colors, faces, accents anger me? certain religions? if so, then i too am infected, a menace to everyone around me. my own worst enemy. for make no mistake, prejudice is a crippling disease. but no one is born with this disease.
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no one is born prejudiced. he has to be taught how to hate, whom to hate. it begins in the home, transmitted from parent to child it spreads because it is contagious, a feeling of inferiority and a thwarted need for love, stifled aggression. it can turn into hate and iolence. prejudice can be cured by recognizing it in ourselves and fighting it. it is much wiser and easier to immunize against it from the beginning, providing love and security for the infant and the growing child, a chance to let off steam by making things, and destroying them if he wants, not wholesale destruction, but a
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chance to get rid of aggressions harmlessly, a chance to learn we are not all alike, that being different itself is not dangerous, putting everyone's talents to good use on playgrounds free to everyone. decent, sanitary housing for every family, an equal chance to arn a living, all these help make us immune to prejudice. by immunizing ourselves, we no longer fear smallpox, diphtheria, and many other diseases. why not do the same with the disease of prejudice? this is our hope, our real hope for the future.
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>> today at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the civil war, the battle through soldiers photographs and diary entries. the university of north florida professor on immigration and the rise of nativism. on sunday at 1:30 eastern, a discussion on retired supreme court justice anthony kennedy. a 1974 conversation with democratic representatives martha griffiths of michigan and patsy menk of hawaii. and-span 3.
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denise kiernan talk about how women's roles changed during world war ii. from joining the war effort as part of the workforce to using helpinge to refugees. this 90 minute event. >> i am the museum us deputy director of the levine institute for holocaust education. thank you to the national museum of women's history for cosponsoring this program with us this evening. thank you for attending whether you are here in the auditorium or whether you're watching or listening thh


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